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AIBU about my house? (sorry, rather long!)

75 replies

velvetspoon · 05/08/2015 18:14

Bit of background: Bought my house with my XP more than a decade ago. Plan was to double size of house by extension (done) which we'd then finish ourselves (not done). When we first split up, XP said he'd finish it, I gave him 2 years, he hadn't so I moved back in. With the intention of finishing it, except I haven't either.

So nearly 5 years on, it's still nowhere near finished. Some rooms are 95% there, others more like 50%, but it's now reached a stage where the 'good' rooms all need redecorating anyway. And it's just all a bit beyond me - it's a big house (14 rooms, plus a couple of big walk in cupboards) and whilst I have tinkered round the edges over the years (which has taken a lot of time nonetheless) there's almost nothing to show for my efforts. I've also tried to get people in to do work which has been pretty disastrous, either things have been done badly/wrong, or now I'm in the position where I can barely get anyone out to quote (I've spent hours ringing round) and when they do they're pretty rude, and don't want the work!

In an ideal world I'd give someone £10-15k (which I have, I've saved and budgeted for years to cover these costs) and say finish the lot, and it would all get done. All the new doorframes, skirting boards, plumbing, laying flooring/carpet, decorating etc. But I can't get anyone to do one job let alone all of it.

So, I'm now in a relationship, and long term (in the next 12 months or so) we would like to move in together. But he can't live here as it is, there's loads I'd need to do (not even finish it, but I've got to basically create 2 extra bedrooms, and complete 2 bathrooms as a minimum) , and I barely know where to start. Also understandably he doesn't want to live in my house forever, and has suggested I look into just cutting my losses and selling, because he doesn't think I'll ever finish it.

In it's current state my house is worth a minimum of £100k less than it's 'finished' value, so frankly I can't face doing that. Even if it cost me £20k to finish (it wouldn't), I'd still be at least £80k better off by persevering. Which is a huge amount of money to lose.

So AIBU to think I should (somehow) stick it out and finish it, rather than chuck away £80k? (I think I'm not BU at all on this).

If I'm right though, where the actual fuck do I start? I work FT, have limited evening/weekend time to do anything, and no-one to help (I can pay people, but I don't have any friends or family to give me a hand).

Advice would be welcomed, because me not doing anything with the house is becoming a bit of a sticking point with bf and I. I don't like being told I'll never finish it (he's not the first one to say that tbh) BUT otoh I haven't done much in recent years, so how am I ever going to get it done? Confused

OP posts:

Pinot4me · 05/08/2015 18:20

Gawd! Sounds very complicated. Why can't you get anyone to work for you? Why won't they come out? What's their excuse? Maybe you could pay someone a day rate (sticking to a schedule of course)? Maybe you could advertise a room for a handy man, rent free for 6 months - payment in lieu? Seems like a shame to just walk away and lose your money...


haveabreakhaveakitkat · 05/08/2015 18:27

You need to get on checka trade and find a local individual or company to come out to view the work and give you a quote for the whole job. Go through room by room beforehand and make a list of every job per room, give each tradesman a copy and use it when the work is finished as a snagging list. It may seem insurmountable but once you've got the right person on board it will take pressure off.


velvetspoon · 05/08/2015 18:31

I'm in the South East and building work is plentiful, so builders/other trades can pick and choose. I've phoned loads (did this again a few months back) only a handful of those actually got back to me and came to have a look, and when they did either said they didn't want the work (and basically said my house was a state Hmm), or quoted a ridiculous amount to do it.

I've tried all the sites people recommend, even the ones where trades have to pay to get your details and quote, and they've all been equally bad.

My house is exactly the sort of thing that would keep a handyman in work for 6 months. If I could find a handyman (or get them to quote me) that is!

OP posts:

MagpieCursedTea · 05/08/2015 18:33

Can you hire a project manager to organise the work for you?


youareallbonkers · 05/08/2015 18:36

Surely you'll have to split the profit with ex?


haveabreakhaveakitkat · 05/08/2015 18:38

Mmmm yes, the guy that does all our work is booked up months in advance because he's so good. Keep persevering op, check the local paper for handyman ads. Facebook can be good too, stick a post on selling pages which usually have thousands of followers, someone might know a retired person who might be happy with a project.


wotoodoo · 05/08/2015 18:45

You need to change your boyfriend and get yoursef a handyman boyfriend instead :)


RedHelenB · 05/08/2015 18:45

My suggestion - get house valued then split excess profit after it's completed with the project manager that gets it done for you. less than 80 000 profit but hopefully job done quickly!


LilyMayViolet · 05/08/2015 18:46

I'm no expert in renovations but I'd agree you should find a way to complete the work. How much were you quoted?


amazonqueen · 05/08/2015 18:49

Could you maybe advertise in the job centre for a handyperson ?Or contact agencies for a person with specific skills?

I was looking for examples to show you and found this based in london but also with other locations. There will probably be plenty of similar places offering the same options if you look around.

If you dont have luck in your area I bet there are loads of skilled people living up to an hours drive away-if that - who would be only too willing to take a job like this on for a decent wage.


RandomMess · 05/08/2015 18:52

I would look much much further afield i.e. up north find someone who does want the work and will travel to complete it.

Project manager idea sounds good too tbh.


MiaowTheCat · 05/08/2015 18:54

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sagethyme · 05/08/2015 18:55

Do you have young(ish) children? If so why not look for an aupair couple, and offer to pay one of them to help with children the other to do maintenance? Also there are websites similar to aupair ones, where you can invite EU nationals over to live with you and get 'pocket money' plus all their living expenses, for odd jobs, building work, farm work ect, might be worth considering.
Good luck


ijustwannadance · 05/08/2015 18:57

When you sell house will you have to give ex half? If so could you ask him to match your 15 grand so you can get all done quickly, sell, split money?

Thing is to sell your huge home for max money you will need it to be done to very high standard, not just a case of getting a handyman in. Also you have greatly underestimated how much it will cost to get house that size up to standard so your profits would be less than you think and that is providing you would actually get what you think its worth.

Is the extra effort, years of saving, living in an unfinished home, mental exhaustion actually worth it for the extra money?

I would be tempted to just get rid of the money pit, move into a nice (smaller!) place with dp and be happy. Leave the headache to someone else.


TooExtraImmatureCheddar · 05/08/2015 18:58

Is it because it's all small stuff, or is there bigger stuff as well?


Deux · 05/08/2015 19:05

We've done quite a few renovations and extension type work and in all cases we've used a project manager.

He drew up a schedule of works and put that out to reliable builders whose work he was happy with. He then checked the work off and issued valuations against which the builder would invoice us.

It worked really well and was pretty stress free.

Our project manager was a very experienced surveyor. So why not ring around surveyors and find one that does project management. If you go onto the RICS website you can find ones local to you.

Also have you tried your local facebook group to ask for recommendations.

FWiw I think you should finish your house to maximise your profit.


OwlinaTree · 05/08/2015 19:09

In the minority but I say cut your losses, sell up and move on. You haven't completed it when you want to live in it, completing it to sell it seems like a waste of your energy to be honest. Sell it, take your share and buy something new with your new partner. Yes, you will lose out on potential profit, but you will gain freedom from the stress of it all.


velvetspoon · 05/08/2015 19:19

How much would a project manager cost? That could work, only I'm not sure they'd want the work tbh - that seems to be the perpetual problem round here.

To give an example of work - the 'best' room is probably the lounge. The only work that needs doing are the doors (to hallway) to be hung, and the exterior French doors need rehanging (as they currently don't fit properly and there's a draught).

The 'worst' rooms - my bathroom needs some tiles finishing, a shower tray and shower installing, bath panel, doorframe, grouting, etc. One of the bedrooms needs a section of new floorboards, skirting boards and doorframe putting up, carpet laying.

Hopefully that gives some idea. The biggest jobs like plastering and electrics were all done years ago, it's just loads of bits here and there. My Ex removed all internal woodwork in the house when the plastering was done, and only put some of it back, hence there are lots of rooms without skirting boards and doorframes, some without doors, and so on.

I have about 75% of the materials already. The property won't need to be finished to a high standard to be worth £100k more than it is now - houses of a similar size finished reasonably (by no means perfectly finished) sell for £600k round here, mine is worth less because it's an ex LA property, but still £450k at a minimum. At present I've been told I couldn't ask more than £350k but should expect to get £300k. So to me it feels worth doing, it's just the how I'm struggling with.

OP posts:

MatildaTheCat · 05/08/2015 19:25

I live in Greater London and homes which are sold as projects get snapped up at very high prices. Have you actually had three quotes from Esate Agents? Or another thought would be to find a really good local builder and offer them a fee plus a share of the uplift in value when you sell. £20k sounds like a huge underestimate from what you describe, you could spend that on two decent bathrooms alone.

Get professional advice and get things started. It sounds as if it is way too much for you to sort out and needs a team of decent builders or a good estate agent.

Ps Has the existing work been bodged hence the reluctance of anyone wanting o get involved?


Littlef00t · 05/08/2015 19:25

Goodness I can't believe you've had such trouble finding someone! There must be a website somewhere you can feature on, or a friend of a friend of a friend. Nightmare!


LadyTmalia · 05/08/2015 19:26

This is probably really stupid, but can you contact a local college that does woodworking and so on and ask if they need experience and money, or if any ex students are looking for work?


velvetspoon · 05/08/2015 19:33

Oh, I forgot (this sums it up!) in the bathroom example above, extractor fan and towel rail also need installing, and a shower door etc. I have all the major 'stuff' already, it just needs fitting. Almost all I will have to pay is labour, just need to find someone to do the work.

There's so much to finish in every room half the time I can't even remember what needs doing.

I've actually had about 7 or 8 valuations from different Estate Agents over the last couple of years, and they all were within £15-20k of each other.

The work hasn't been bodged as such - XP is an electrician, so all the electrics are to a really high standard. Some of the woodwork he did himself wasn't great, but then I want all that redone anyway. The tiling in the bathroom isn't perfect (if you inspect it closely) but no worse than stuff I've seen in some new build houses tbh. Plastering was all done by a (good) plasterer, etc.

OP posts:

RandomMess · 05/08/2015 19:46

Which is the nearest town about an hour further out from London? I would start looking there for a carpenter/handyman and ask them for a daily rate for a weeks work type of thing.


contractor6 · 05/08/2015 21:54

Contact estate agent, ask then to recommend a handy man. Other wise is good. I live in south east and some trades people have been like this others if you are happy for them to do a small job tomorrow and they are free then they get the job done.


SweetAndFullOfGrace · 05/08/2015 21:56

Have you tried something like taskrabbit?

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